Ukraine goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament. Four hundred and fifty seats are up for grabs in an election which pits President Viktor Yanukovich’s ruling Party of Regions against a united opposition coalition.
Voters tend to be split politically by geography. Donetsk in the east is considered a Yanukovich stronghold.
However when talking to Donetsk residents one man said despite being a member of the Party of Regions he was not going to vote for them: “I’d like to vote for someone new because I’m fed up with what’s happening here,” he said.
While another younger voter appeared convinced by the government’s message:“I’m going to back the Party of Regions, because they at least they make you feel confident about tomorrow.”
The opposition have fielded few candidates in Donetsk seeing it as a futile exercise. But while opinion polls suggest the majority here will back Yanukovich and the status quo, dissatisfaction with declining standards of living could produce some surprises.
Meanwhile the town of Lviv in western Ukraine has long been regarded as a nationalist stronghold. Residents here are generally critical of the government-backed move to promote Russian as an accepted regional language, and look for closer links with Europe rather than keeping the old former Soviet ties with Moscow.
Roman Koshoviy, representative of Lviv’s Committee of Voters of Ukraine explained:
“Traditionally, Lviv supports pro-Ukrainian parties. It’s a long-standing tradition of Lviv voters to support national-democratic candidates or, should I say, more radical patriots. So it’s no big surprise that the majority vote here will go to three parties that are in opposition to the government.”
Opinion polls indicate that together those three parties could muster over sixty percent of the vote presenting a major challenge President Viktor Yanukovich’s ruling party in Lviv.
Reporting for euronews, Evgeniya Rudenko said:
“Observers say there have been no serious violations in the course of campaigning, but they don’t rule out what they call possible tensions on voting day.”